in the kitchen · recipes

Corn and Black Bean Salad

Corn and Black Bean SaladSlow Food USA recently had a $5 challenge.  From their website:  “The goal is to take back the ‘value meal’ – because slow food shouldn’t have to cost more than fast food. We’re asking people to share what they do in their kitchens and with their families to cook fresh, healthy food on a budget. Together, we’re learning what works, what doesn’t, and what needs to change in order to make good food affordable and available for everyone.”  I love this idea and believe more families should slow down and make slow food.

Not being the least bit competitive (hah!), I signed up for the challenge.  Since it was the same day as our neighborhood block party, I thought this was a great way to make a large salad that served many and cost less than $5.

Using dried beans and fresh from the garden vegetables are the keys to keeping the cost down for this salad.  Frozen corn is a fine alternative if fresh corn is not in season.

Corn and Black Bean Salad

My neighbors planted a “community garden” of mostly tomatoes and they generously shared with everyone on our street.  Our garden has produced an excellent crop of tomatoes, with lots of sun-gold, which I think are the best small tomatoes, and we had plenty of those.  Using dried black beans is another inexpensive ingredient.  This recipe uses 5 cups of cooked beans, which equals about 2 cups dried.  The cost of 2 cups of dried black beans is about $1.00.

Unfortunately, it rained all day on Saturday, including during our party.  September weather in Portland is usually glorious.  But, like good Oregonians, we put up some canopies, donned rain jackets, and made the best of it!

Corn and Black Bean Salad

The rain didn’t stop us from having fun.  My husband and I, along with a neighbor doing back-up, kicked off the talent show part of our block party with our version of “Edelweiss” and “The Lonely Goatherd” songs, thanks to “The Sound of Music” soundtrack.  This did not inspire the talented teens on our block to perform but it was fun – for us!  I’m sure a video of this is (sadly) on YouTube going viral while you read this.  If you search “parents of teens who act like fools and embarrass their kids,” you’re sure to find the link.

Corn and Black Bean Salad
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: Sara Tetreault
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10-15
This salad makes a lot but if you’re going to a big party – this will be the hit! Fresh corn that’s summertime sweet will make the recipe even better.
  • 9 cups corn (8 ears)
  • 5 cups black beans
  • 5 cups tomatoes
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon [url href=”” target=”_blank”]chipotle peppers in adobe sauce[/url]
  • zest of one lime
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  1. In large bowl combine beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, and onion.
  2. In food processor, place garlic and salt.
  3. Pulse until smooth.
  4. Add chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, zest/juice of lime, olive oil, vinegar, and sugar.
  5. Process until smooth.
  6. Taste and adjust as needed.
  7. Pour over salad and stir completely.
If you have leftovers, serve this with roasted chicken or in a burrito. It’s tasty and works well for lunch or dinner.

The salad was a big hit – even in the rain. Cross fingers that next year, we don’t have to have a canopy to keep the rain off the food!

What salad do you like to bring to a neighborhood potluck party?

Go Gingham related links:

How to roast tomatoes for an easy sauce
Staking tomatoes in a very stylishly frugal way
Preparing for tomato planting season
Shrimp and quinoa salad recipe is here
A family favorite – beet salad – it’s delicious, too
Corn and black bean salad – feeds a crowd!!
Grilled veggies are good with this salad, too
Try this roasted garlic spread with your appetizer

8 thoughts on “Corn and Black Bean Salad

  1. This is one of my favorite substantial summer salads – I was, ironically, going to make it for our own block party before I decided to not attend the eating portion of the party. 🙂

    Since I have a preschooler, I eschew the chiles and go light on the cilantro (add to taste for adult plates). I use raw, fresh corn when it’s summertime, because I love how the sweetness and starchiness of the raw corn contrast with the tomatoes. Yumz!


    1. That’s too funny that you were going to make it for your block party! It’s a good one. I grew corn this year for the first time so I’ll most likely be making something like this again – soon – since I need to harvest that corn. Thanks for leaving a comment.


  2. I always shake my head a little in the teacher’s lounge during lunch time. The same folks who bring in fast food and take out left over for lunch are the one’s who are feeling tired, talk about needing to lose weight, and talk about being broke half way through the month (we’re paid once a month). That “cheap fast” food is costing them big time.

    I’ve made a recipe similar to yours and brought it in for lunch, as well as many other nutritious home made meals. I’m not busy counting calories, I eat until I’m contently full. I feel energized by my food. I also keep my food bill under $200 a month.


    1. Hi Indigo! I can picture the scene at your work completely. It’s amazing that with all of the cooking shows and food blogs, so few people actually cook their own food anymore. For our family, the only time I wish we’d gone out to dinner is when the kitchen needs cleaning up! Then, we just turn on the music and get busy. Cooking is fun and so healthy for you. And, you’re right – fast food costs more in the long. Thanks for the comment.


    1. Thanks Lindsay! Most of our meals cost around $5 here. I think with very few, simple ingredients it’s a much healthier way to eat, too.


  3. Sara,
    I was recently given the assignment to bring a salad to a family dinner. Knowing that there were already going to be other salads there I decided to bring my “old standard” – Corn and Black Bean Salad.

    But then I saw your post and decided to use yours instead! It’s slightly different than mine and gave me the opportunity to use more of my Chipotle Peppers in Adobe Sauce (that I made from your site).

    It was a crowd pleaser! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂


    1. You’re welcome! And, Kirsten, that’s great about the salad. Glad you made it and I love that you had the Chipotle Peppers on hand.


Comments are closed.